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07/3 2011

Leadership Lessons from “The King’s Speech”

Who says leaders can’t learn anything from the world of entertainment?

According to authors Dennis and Michelle Reina ( “Building Trust in the Workplace”), the movie “The King’s Speech — which details how England’s King George VI needed to ask for outside help to control a stuttering problem — offers the following leadership lessons:

  • Be Willing to Ask For — and Accept — Help from Others:  By asking for and accepting assistance from others,  you are modeling this behavior for others in the organization.  Learning from others will depend the connection and commitment between the members of the organization — and will also build trust and respect.
  • Be Willing to Allow Yourself to be Vulnerable:  Many leaders avoid opening-up because they are afraid of appearing vulnerable — and this takes the form of an uncertainty about who they can (and cannot) trust.  This tendency is most likely to rear its head under conditions of pressure or stress — which are the most important times to let others in, and let them be of assistance and support.
  • As a Leader — Recognize that Your Life Experiences Impact Your Ability to Build Trust With Others:  In the movie, the King is not able to overcome his stuttering without first recognizing the situations of broken trust that have occurred earlier in his own life.   This type of recognition — and awareness — is a critical step to being able to open-up and establish trusting relationships with others.

 In addition to being good entertainment (the 2010 film won 4 Academy Awards, including Best Picture), “The King’s Speech” also underscores how trust — or a lack thereof — can impact a leader’s overall success.  With this in mind, corporate leaders can watch this film and be both entertained and informed.

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